Fascism and Political Theory

Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology

By Daniel Woodley

© 2009 – Routledge

276 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415473552
pub: 2009-09-15
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Hardback: 9780415473545
pub: 2009-09-15
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About the Book

Fascism and Political Theory offers both students and researchers a thematic analysis of fascism, focusing on the structural and ideological links between fascism, capitalism and modernity. Intended as a critical discussion of the origins and development of fascist ideology, each chapter deals with a core substantive issue in political theory relevant to the study of fascism and totalitarianism, beginning with an assessment of the current state of debate.

The emphasis on formal ideology in contemporary Anglo-American historiography has increased our awareness of the complexity and eclectic nature of fascist ideologies which challenge liberalism and social democracy. Yet in too many recent works, a programmatic or essentialist reading of fascist ideology as a ‘secular religion’ is taken for granted, while researchers remain preoccupied with the search for an elusive ‘fascist minimum’.

In this book Woodley emphasizes that many outstanding questions remain, including the structural and ideological links between fascism and capitalism, the social construction of fascist nationalism, and the origins of fascist violence in European colonialism. This volume consolidates the reader’s theoretical understanding and provides the interdisciplinary skills necessary to understand the concrete social, economic and political conditions which generate and sustain fascism.

A timely critique of culturalist and revisionist approaches in fascism studies which provides a concise overview of theoretical debates between liberalism, Marxism and poststructuralism, this text will be of great interest to students of politics, modern history and sociology.


This is a captivating and well-researched contribution to political theory and historical sociology. Woodley’s sophisticated, wide-ranging, and clearly-written book convincingly dissects the anatomy of fascism, including its relation to the modern imperial-international context. - Patricia Owens, author of Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Oxford, 2007)

Table of Contents

1. Fascism and Political Theory 2. Fascism, Rationality and Modernity 3. Fascism and Social Structure 4. Fascism, Sovereignty and the State 5. Fascism and Violence 6. Fascism, Capitalism and the Market 7. Fascism and Nationalism 8. Fascism and Race 9. Fascism, Gender and Sexuality

About the Author

Daniel Woodley teaches politics at DLD College in London. He holds a PhD in political sociology from the University of Essex (2002), and is the author of numerous articles and several textbooks on ideology and political theory including, most recently, Conservatism (2005).

About the Series

Routledge Issues in Contemporary Political Theory

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General